Freelance Writing Income: How to track it

How do you keep track of your freelance writing income?

I think it's pretty clear that I'm a chart psycho.  I'm just afraid that tax time won't be kind to me if I haven't got multiple accurate records all over the place and that I won't make myself work just that much harder if I haven't got a clear picture of how much money I've made.

Aside from making my charts (which really do only take a minute - I'll explain that in a moment), I have a folder for each client and a big hanging file drawer for invoices and payment receipts.  When I have a new invoice, I put it in according to date; when I get the payment, I staple a copy of the confirmation to the invoice and don't touch it until tax time.

As an added tracking measure, I keep an itemized spreadsheet (which is where the information for my pie charts comes from!) each month; there are columns for the date, the client (Publisher), the title of the work, the amount due and the amount received.

By subtracting the "Amount Received" from the sum of all the numbers in column D (the total amount people are paying me for my services that month) like this -

you'll get a clear picture when you input the data into a chart:

It's kind-of an "at-a-glance" way of checking up on how much of your money is still out there.  I always add things as they come in rather than waiting, because I run the risk of forgetting and at the end of the month I'll be scratching my head wondering why I have more (or, yikes, less) money than I should.

Ok, enough charts.  How do you keep track of your freelance writing income?  Do you write everything down as it comes up, or do you save it all for a certain day?  Please share your comments here - I'd love to have a link to your website or blog!

© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on or without my name as author, it's stolen.